Friday, October 29, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

Fear 1/5
Gore 0/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 1/5

The first Paranormal Activity relied on tension and a slow burn approach in effectively administering its scares. Coupled with the fact that it also kept you second guessing as to what it was, the film was unlike anything anyone had ever experienced (not too mention a phenomenon was created in the process). And when all was said and done, it was one of the most original and well done horror films I'd seen in quite some time. So, as is most oftentimes the case when a film breaks through to the mainstream, Hollywood was quick to get a sequel fired up. And for most, including myself, visions of Blair Witch 2 danced in our heads. So does the film deliver? A big fat resounding 'NO' from this reviewer. Note: massive spoilers abound. You've been warned.

The film is a prequel of sorts, focusing on the family of Katie. More specifically, her sister, brother in-law, step niece, and newborn baby nephew. Along with a Spanish housekeeper and the family dog, they come home one day to find that their house is broken into, furniture and belongings strewn about but no valuables are taken. Instead of calling authorities, they hire a security company to install cameras so hopefully they can catch them next time in the act. Along with the teenage step niece and father working the newly purchased family handicam, they set out to catch these non-stealing, house messer uppers.

So of course, strange things start happening: the pool vacuum is found every morning, inexplicably finding its way out of the pool; pots falling off ceiling hangers, doors closing by themselves, yadda yadda. And we also see that whatever is in the house has a fixation on the new born baby boy (who by this time has jumped from one scene in being brought home as a baby to now a toddler, a serious lapse in time that is never really explained but we accept at face value).

The teenage daughter being freaked out, starts researching ghosts and concludes that it's a demon and that her family must have made some sort of deal with it. This is supposed to build some sort of mythos but it comes off as just plain silly and escaping all sense of logic. Why would you deduce that after only witnessing a couple of odd things happening and reading an interwebs page?

Anywhos, so we now know that this demon is after the baby (why not just take the baby? why all the pranks and shenanigans?) and somehow it's tied to the history of the family. Our onscreen drama unfolds and is wratched up nightly much like the first with the scares employed being exactly the same. OK, minus one in broad daylight that made me jump. But still, same schtick, different film.

As the film draws to a close, we are supposed to be shocked by the ending but we're not, as its pretty much the same ending to the first film. Coupled with the fact that we have this convoluted mythos which is built and the exact same scares employed but with different characters (admittedly, more likeable), what you have is a repeat of the original and overall, a big ol' stinky crap salad.

I love the found footage sub-genre and I'm a sucker for these types of films. But PA2 ditches what made the first so successful (slow burn, genuine tension) and plugs in the same set of scares that worked the first go around but you see coming a mile away now as we know the formula. Really, there is no deviation.

Ah, and I see part 3 is already in the works. Here's to hoping that more inventive scares are coming and a less prank wanky demon.

Cortez the Killer

P.S. For some reason, no embeddable trailers exist on YouTube. So if you haven't seen the trailer yet, you'll have to do your own interwebs digging. Maybe you can go to WebMDoIHaveADemonFollowingMe?.com while you're looking. You know, just in case you've ever wondered and want to self-diagnose.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


About 2 months back, I posted a review for a film that gave me a couple of sleepless nights. It rattled and unnerved me, much in the same way that Lake Mungo did. Hands down, In Memorium is the best indie horror film I've seen in 2010.

I recently conducted an interview with writer/director Amanda Gusack for The Bloodsprayer. I invite and encourage you to check it out and to support a much deserving filmmaker and film.

The film itself has finally received distribution and a release date which will be announced on Halloween. And for a full 24 hours, you our fair readers, will be able to stream the first 16 minutes of the film through this very interwebs page for free.

You're welcome and goodnight.

Cortez the Killer

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

El Monstro Del Mar (2010)

Fear 0/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 1/5

El Monstro Del Mar is an Aussie export, chock full o' b-movie madness, over the top gore with a splash of grindhouse thrown in for good measure. All in all, its a hoot and it has one hell of a gore soaked finale. I'm talking Dead Alive levels of epic here folks.

Our film starts off with a trio of Suicide Girl-like ladies stranded on the side of the road. With a wink wink and a showing of some leg and skin, they effectively use their wiles to convince a couple of all too willing dudes to pull over. The suckers, er I mean guys, become further seduced by the ladies and are quickly dispensed as the gals pull out butterfly knives, slitting their throats and enjoying every blood spurt that spews forth.

Taking their car, they head out to their destination: a small seaside fishing village. The girls are obviously on the run from something but at the start, we don't know exactly from what. Instead, they're there to pass some time as it 'blows over', swimming in the ocean and getting shit faced drunk. But before they do so, a necessary warning from an old man is given as he advises them to stay away from the water. Of course, they pay no mind to which he exclaims 'Goddamn whores gotta ruin everything!' No old man, you got it all wrong. These psycho vixen, classy whores make the proceedings all that much better!

The granddaughter of the old man, soon becomes friends with the girls and she's invited into their little seaside shack for some heavy drinking and dancing around a boombox as it blares some good ol' American pop soul (think Tarantino's Death Proof soundtrack). Unbeknownst to them, a multi-tentacled (rubbery goodness and all) monster has started attacking some fishermen looking for a late night catch. When they awake the next morning, and stumble a bit in their hungover haze, they survey the damage. In addition to their discoveries, they also come to find that one of their own (who passed out on the dock the night before) has been mortally wounded. It's payback time bitches!

Holing up in the shack of the old man and his granddaughter, they are relayed the story of the town and how it was flourishing until this monster inexplicably showed up one day. It killed most of the townsfolk including some people very near and dear to them. Shortly thereafter, the monster starts crashing against the side of the house, its tentacles busting through and attacking the girls as the grandfather takes cover in his basement (before you label him a pansy, the blue hair is paralyzed from the waist down due to his previous struggle with the beast). What then ensues is an epic showdown, taking their knifes, a trident that was mounted on the old man's wall and a shotgun to the monster. And one awesomely gore soaked conclusion unfolds as our lovely ladies fight to the bitter end.

El Monstro Del Mar is the most fun you'll have all year with a good ol' fashioned, b-movie style horror film. An overall top 10 pick for sure. Does it break any new ground? Nope. But its a hell of a lot of fun. And that's OK by me.

For more information about the film (including upcoming screenings), check out its website:

Cortez the Killer

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Giveaway Time!

Hey kids! Wanna copy of that fantabuloso film for which we posted an interview about on Tuesday for FREE? Huh huh? Do ya do ya?

All you gotta do is comment on this here post and leave me with your email address. Don't worry, I won't give it to some 3rd party company who'll sell you on the guarantee of a gigantic dingus or an increase in the size of your mammaries or better yet, both.

I have 3 copies of the film to give away. How effing cool is that? An independent filmmaker, who made a film with his own nickle and dime and is now selling it, is giving a few away son gratis? Pretty damn cool I says.

And the methodology for picking the winner is totally scientific. My wife, a completely impartial party as she hates horror films and she has NEVER visited the blog in the 2+ years we've been together (she just knows it as 'That silly thing I do'), will draw names out of a hat. That's it.

Winners will be announced sometime next week.

Cortez the Killer

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Interview: Dom Portalla, Writer/Director; Ken Flott, Actor 'The Darkness Within'

To anyone that will listen, I've been saying for the past two years or so that the horror genre is singlehandedly being carried by independent filmmakers. Challenging conventions while not adhering at all to your standard tropes, these fearless filmmakers are giving a much needed shot to the arm to a genre that is rife with unoriginal storytelling. These filmmakers, much like the one in today's featured interview, aren't at all afraid to take risks. And of course, they're here to scare the piss out of you.

About a month or so ago, we featured a film called The Darkness Within. A film simple in set-up: a man and his girlfriend move into a new apartment. Almost immediately, they're creeped out by their next door neighbor. The creep factor is turned up when the boyfriend catches him peering through his bathroom window late one night. But just when we're lead to believe that the neighbor (who is now perceived to be outright harassing them) has ill intentions, the film shifts completely as the lines of reality become blurred. And what you're ultimately left with is a nice slab of psychological horror, well executed and wholly original.

I recently had the opportunity to interview both writer/director Dom Portalla and actor Ken Flott who played the creeptastic neighbor, Mr. Reed. Here is what they had to say about the project, the difficulties independent filmmakers face nowadays, and Dom's hair.

Cortez the Killer: How did the idea for The Darkness Within come about?

Dom Portalla: I had just finished making my first flick, 'Duality' which was basically my own version of film school. I’d spent a year working very closely with this amazing group of people who were both as equally passionate and inexperienced in filmmaking as I was. We all jumped in together and made this movie for just shy of $7,000, which was this bizarre, funny, oddball, gangster/comedy, mistaken identity story that when it was finished, felt very uneven. By the nature of filmmaking, you’re often shooting a movie out of succession (i.e., stuff in the middle is being shot first; the ending scene is filmed before the opener, so-on and so forth). So even though we were learning a lot and improving immensely as we went on, the final product (as much as I still love it) always felt slightly 'off'. Knowing more about the filmmaking process and having way more technical experience, I was really eager to get back out there and make another flick. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that it would need to have some clearly set boundaries. We’d have to set it in a centralized location, we’d have to cap the budget at $3,000, and if possible, we needed to make it really fucking scary.

So one day I’m getting home from work and I bump into one of my neighbors. My girlfriend and I had just moved into this very small basement apartment a few weeks earlier and we were still getting the place settled. I’d just bought this L-shaped desk days earlier so that I could set up both of my computers in my living room. So this neighbor and I are making small talk and out of nowhere he says to me, 'You really like computers, don’t you?' Not really knowing how to take the question I responded with something like 'Yeah, I mean, as much as the next guy, I guess.' To which he replies, 'Yeah, every time I walk by your window, you’re always on your computer.' Now, in hindsight, I realize he probably didn’t mean that to be nearly as creepy as it came off (we did live on a ground level and I still hadn’t bought curtains for the windows yet), but for whatever reason that comment really freaked me out and re-activated some ideas I’d had floating around in my head for a previous project. That night I sat down and wrote the first fifteen pages of the script.

CTK: The employ of a red herring can be a tricky thing. The challenge being that most people, even when there are multiple uses of it, can see right through it. Tell me about the challenge of using this effectively as a filmmaker so as to completely catch your viewer off guard once the ‘grand reveal’ comes.

DP: It’s interesting because I think there is a school of filmmaking that exists that assumes everyone in the audience is an idiot. This is why so many movies feel like they are grabbing you by the hand and leading you to their conclusion. I think it’s exactly the opposite. I think movie audiences are so sophisticated and aware now that to simply remain one step ahead of them as a filmmaker is actually really difficult and challenging. Most people sit down in a theater now already trying to decipher a film’s mystery before they even know there is one. So it’s like you say, when you throw in red herrings a lot of times, they’re sitting there already figuring out where it’s going. There are definitely some red herrings in 'The Darkness Within', but rather than try and figure out devices or obvious diversions I tried to approach the writing of the script with a certain goal in mind. One of my favorite filmmakers, Christopher Nolan, made a flick a few years ago called 'The Prestige'. The first time you see that movie, you’re walking through a maze. You are just trying to get a sense of where you are and figure out where you’re going and it all leads up to an amazing 'grand reveal'. The second time you see that movie, it’s a completely different film, on every level. There’s even a line in the flick that sums it up perfectly. Borden has to show his wife the secret behind the 'bullet-catch trick' otherwise she won’t let him perform it. Once he does she responds with 'Once you know, it’s actually quite obvious'. That’s the entire movie right there perfectly defined in that one line. You watch it the second time seeing all the ways Christopher Nolan was just rubbing your face in it ('Are you watching closely?').

That was the approach I wanted to take with 'Darkness.' I wanted to constantly be peppering in little clues that were sometimes so subtle you wouldn’t even think to notice them, but on a second go-around you’d be wondering how the hell they ever got by you.

The best compliment I got on the film was during the Q&A at the Magnolia Film Festival. The festival director, Joe Evans, made the comment that it was his third time seeing the film and he was still catching hints all throughout that he hadn’t seen before. That really meant a lot to me because that was exactly what I was hoping for.

CTK: The character of Mr. Reed completely steals each scene he’s in, whether he has dialogue or not. Ken, what was your inspiration behind the portrayal of the character? Any character actors in particular that influenced you?

Ken Flott: Thank you for that, don’t let it happen again. The inspiration behind the character was Dom and I just talking through who we thought Reed was and what he was about, then learn the lines and try to make Dom happy. He’s impossible to work with and that hair, I mean really.

Character actors? Uh, well a character Ray Liotta played in a movie called 'Something Wild' from 1986, yeah, way back, was who I was mindful of but a way dialed back incarnation of that. Ray Sinclair was that character’s name and Reed in no way needed to get to that level of fucking loon. Don’t ask Dom about that movie, he’s never seen anything made before 1990. He probably thinks it’s in black and white.

CTK: I’ve heard that you used to be a stand-up comedian. With that, can come a lot of improvisation. Where there any scenes with Mr. Reed that you improvised?

KF: Stand up? Oh yeah I remember that guy. Improvised scenes, none that were included in the movie for me. I guess there’s always some level of that but Dom’s stuff is so tight, I didn’t feel right moving away from the material. However you’ll have to buy the DVD to see the outtakes. I apologize ahead of time for my outtakes. Enough said on that.

CTK: Dom, in today’s climate, talk to me a little bit about the challenges of being an independent filmmaker. And what do you think is the single greatest challenge that an independent filmmaker faces today?

DP: Well first off, what 'independent film' has evolved into is a completely different beast altogether than what it was when I was first learning about it. I always considered movies like 'Clerks', 'Slacker' & 'Stranger Than Paradise' to be touchstones of what true independent cinema was. The directors were like guitarists in a garage band. They were outsiders who came out of nowhere and made movies with minuscule amounts of money and casted actors you’d never heard of. Now, you have big stars like Jennifer Aniston starring in independent films. They’re being green lit with budgets upwards of ten million dollars. Indies used to be an alternative to mainstream cinema; now most indies are essentially just an offshoot of mainstream cinema. That doesn’t necessarily make them bad, but it does pigeonhole the market a bit and makes it incredibly difficult for guys like me to break in. Every once in a while you’ll get something like a 'Paranormal Activity' (which I really dug incidentally) that will be made for under twenty grand and get a big marketing push, but ultimately those movies are few and far between and they all have to have a very powerful gimmick. So as a traditional independent filmmaker – someone who is operating completely outside of the Hollywood system with a very limited budget and resources – the odds are really already stacked against you just in the way independent film is defined nowadays.

I will say though, horror film fans are probably among the most forgiving in terms of what they are willing to accept. It’s been my experience that the guys and gals who dig on horror movies will overlook budgetary constraints in lieu of a good story. That’s probably because horror film fans 1.) Enjoy and even encourage movies that can be made cheaply and efficiently & 2.) Are far more interested in substance than they are given credit for. Basically, I think it’d be much more difficult to produce and market a $3,000 romantic comedy than a $3,000 horror film. The latter is more likely to find its audience because that audience is out there looking for it.

CTK: Who are some of your filmmaking influences, past and present?

DP: I really got my introduction to independent film with 'Clerks' and Kevin Smith’s other early films, Tarantino as well. The first time I saw 'Reservoir Dogs' in high school, I was completely blown away. I was so impressed with the fact that a movie could be centered around a jewel heist and never actually show it. Scorsese is bar-none my all time favorite director. Kubrick, as well, is maybe one of the most prolific voices in film history. I think that guys like David Fincher and Christopher Nolan are way out in front leading us into a new era. Michel Gondry is completely out of his mind, as is Robert Rodriguez. Mark Romanek’s 'One Hour Photo' is one of the best directed film’s I’ve seen in the past decade. Sam Raimi, The Coens, Spike Lee, Paul Thomas Anderson, Guy Ritchie, John Carpenter, Darren Arronofsky have all been incredibly influential to me. This is really a list that could quite possibly go on forever.

CTK: The way that you shot the ‘grand reveal’ scene as the camera pans around (a certain character) was so brilliantly done. As the viewer, it created anxiety as you desperately wanted to know what it is that is being seen (and realized). Tell me about the idea behind that scene and if it was in fact intended all along.

DP: I’ve always been a fan of 'less-is-more', especially when it comes to these types of flicks. The sequence was always intended to be shot and edited the way it’s seen. My idea was to try and show just enough so that the audience could understand what was being revealed, but also to leave the rest as vague as possible so that their own sick, depraved, maniacal imaginations could fill in the gaps. I honestly believe it is true that what they (the audience) can create in their own minds is always far, far worse than anything that can be shown on screen.

CTK: I loved the genre nod you gave at the end; it was like a film nerd’s wet dream. Tell me about the films that have inspired you.

DP: The stuff that really grabbed my imagination as a kid and began my obsession with film was 'Back To The Future', 'Dick Tracy' & 'Terminator 2.' For horror films, I still think that 'The Shining' (which is the reference to which you’re referring) is the scariest movie of all time (Friedkin’s 'The Exorcist' is not far behind). Brad Anderson made a flick called 'Session 9' which pays a lot of homage to 'The Shining' as well and is just absolutely brilliant. Aside from the obviously great 'Rear Window', I think some of the best voyeuristic films are 'The Lives of Others' and the aforementioned 'One Hour Photo' (which I can say certainly helped shape 'Darkness'). You can’t get much better than 'Evil Dead' for indie/horror inspiration. Mary Harron’s 'American Psycho' is a masterpiece that has always stayed with me. Tim Burton’s 'Ed Wood' is on constant rotation in my film diet and always reminds me of how much I love filmmaking. Gondry’s 'Eternal Sunshine' is the most beautiful film ever made in my book (and probably my generations 'Casablanca' in many ways). 'Goodfellas' absolutely changed my life. 'Fight Club' is and may always be my favorite film ever. These are just off the top of my head. Again, I could go on and on. I worked in video stores all through high school and most of college, I’ve seen so many movies that have had a lasting effect on me and this is just scratching the surface.

CTK: Any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?

DP: The next feature is going to be a comedy called 'Saint Joey', which is a coming-of-age story about guys in their late 20’s. It’s maybe the most personal thing I’ve ever written to date and if I’m doing my job right, the funniest too.

KF: Yeah, 'Saint Joey' our next feature is going to be a great time. From what I've read, it's funny and the characters are already well fleshed out. Dom and I have been talking about it for months. We're also going to do a short film called 'Nicky.' Uh, I guess you could call it a story of redemption. It's based on a short story I wrote a couple years back and Dom is putting the screenplay touches on it that I have no clue how to do and frankly, I wouldn't trust anyone else with it. I mean, he's had a copy of the story in the bathroom for over two years now, really the highest compliment one can give to another. It says, 'When I'm sitting on the toilet, there's nothing I'd rather read than the misguided ramblings of a lonely old man and that man is you Ken.' Very touching sentiment. I think you'll dig it. And I hope you all do too.

Many thanks to Dom and Ken for stopping by the Planet.

You can pre-order a copy of The Darkness Within through the film's website:

Also, be on the lookout for an upcoming post in which you can win your very own copy of the film for free!!

Cortez the Killer

"The Darkness Within" on DVD! from Dom Portalla on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Evil Laugh (1988)

Fear 0/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5
T&A Factor: 2/5

It's been awhile since we've reviewed a film from one of our favorite subgenres of horror: slashers. We've been on a bit of an indie horror binge lately. So it was high time for me to take a little mindless break. In our history, there have been plenty of misses alright when it comes to checking out these numerous films that were churned out in the 80's. I mean, inherently, each one of these films is just bad bad bad. But when the right elixir of awesome is achieved, you get a movie that should be celebrated for years to come. Planetary dwellers, I bestow upon you the greatness that is Evil Laugh!

Our film opens with a doctor who's purchased an abandoned mansion with a bit of a sketchy past. You see, it used to be a boarding home for kids and one of the groundskeepers was accused of abusing some of the ankle biters. For retribution, he came back and slit all their throats. That'll show those little bastards!

The doc has suckered his pals into coming out for the weekend to renovate the house. Beforehand, a delivery boy drops off a couple of bags of food. After he leaves, the doc gets upset that he forgot to bring him a liver to cook for dinner. Our killer pops up with a knife, slicing into him, extracting his heart and putting it into the mixing bowl for supper time later that night. He then disappears, with a chuckle and cackle that's a cross between Scooby Doo and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Our group of kids, all of which are either doctors or in med school, get to the casa to help their dear (unknowingly dead) friend get the house cleaned and situated before he and his soon to be wife move in. To kick things off proper, they go all Dance Party USA, complete with extreme close-up ass shots!

The group itself is composed of your standard horror fodder: the hot headed horny jock-type, his sensitive buddy who's been recently dumped (played by Steven Baio, yeah that Steven Baio), their nerdy horror fan cohort, the slut who recently dumped the sensitive guy who's being hounded by the jock dude for some nookie, and a couple of kinky kids who just want to bang bedposts all weekend.

Before the bloodbath gets going full force, our nerdy guy has taken over the dinner making duties and is first confused when he doesn't find a liver that needs to be cooked (nevermind the fact that they still haven't heard or seen from their good friend). Instead, he doesn't hesitate for a minute when he finds the heart 'waiting' to be cooked. He fries and filets it, serving up the dish on a nice silver platter. An awkard scene ensues as the diners all dig into their friend's veiny muscle o' ventrical pumps.

After dinner concludes, the bloodbath begins as our masked cackling killer starts in, one by one, on each house guest. Completely oblivious, (all save for the overly paranoid kooky and nerdy horror fan) the friends go about their business. And when I say business, I mean trying to get into the knickers of the lady folk in the casa. Just feast your eyes on this amazing exchange:

Mark: Tina, you're studying to become a nurse right? Haven't you heard of some guys getting blue balls?

Tina: I thought that was just a myth?

Mark: I wish it was but it's not. Here, let me show you.

He takes her hand and guides it downstairs

Tina: I guess it is true!
I wish I could help you Mark but I can't.

They later head into the bedroom and start making out. Mark tries one last ditch effort to get into her knickers:

Tina: Wait, stop!

Mark: It's OK, I got a vasectomy when I was 17. You can't get pregnant!

Wow, Mark. Just WOW.

So the killer continues on with his mad spree, offing Mark, Tina and then poor Steven Baio in the gnarliest way: tying him up and placing his head in a running microwave.

A showdown then ensues between our not-so-final girl (more by default than by actual smarts) and our nerdy horror fan who's figured out how to survive it all. And who's the killer you ask? Dun dun dun, the mother of the groundskeeper who also happens to be the wife of the real estate agent!

It's difficult to encapsulate all of the ridiculousness that this film has to offer. There are plenty of other scenes of pure insanity for your viewing (dis)pleasure. But as you can see, Evil Laugh ranks high on Cortez's cheese-dick-o-meter and it's an instant classic. It also stands as further proof that every horror filmmaker in the 80's was snorting coke.

Cortez the Killer

Monday, October 11, 2010

Simone (2010)

Fear 3/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 3/5
T&A Factor 5/5

Simone is a sexy, supernatural short with a neat little twist. Well filmed with a quick but expert building of tension and atmosphere, it does more in its short run time than some of its longer versioned brethren.

The film sees our lead character wake up after a hard night of partying. Naked and dazed, she bolts to the bathroom and coughs up blood in the sink. This can't be good. In the midst of it, she pulls out a long strand of hair from her mouth and is horrified by the prospect of what she's done. You see, as she gets sick and then later heads out of the bathroom, flashbacks from the previous night's events occur and she pieces everything together. She remembers hooking up with another girl at the bar and taking her home. Worse, she remembers what she really is and how she was unable to suppress her urges the night before.

As she heads out into the kitchen, the location of the previous night's gruesome act, we again get flashbacks as Simone begins to remember all that had happened. We see a brutal attack to her midnight lover as she's thrown about the kitchen and viciously torn apart. And as Simone rounds the corner, she is horrified by the actual sight of what she's done. Her grief consumes her as the film concludes, moving from the sadness over what she's done to the opposite end of the spectrum as night falls and her animalism emerges.

Simone is simple in set up but where it shines is in the sense of confusedness and the accompanying disorientation that the filmmaker employs. We all can relate to a hard night of partying but what if your night got out of control and you had other urges that you had to contend with? The jarring flashback sequences were also well done which only served to heighten the shocking end to our film.

For more information about Simone, including how you can order a copy, check out the film's website:

Cortez the Killer

SIMONE: The DVD from Joops Fragale on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dream Warriors In Combat

Just in time for the DVD/Blu Ray release of the shit sandwich that is the NOES remake, is a blogger throwdown of sorts between myself and the wonderfully talented Ms. Emily Intravia of the Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense. I thought it was an atrocious crapfest while Emily wasn't as hard on it and actually thought there was a lot of merit to it.

The debate (via email) intermittently went on for a couple of months as I got married and bought a new house and Emily was hard at work bringing peace to the middle east (or not). But given the timing now, we've decided to release our hilarious discourse upon the masses!

You can read the entire debate here:

Weigh in with your thoughts and follow her fantastic blog if you aren't doing so already.

Cortez the Killer

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Frozen (2010)

Fear 5/5
Gore 4/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 3/5

Simply put, Frozen is one of the most intense film watching experiences I've ever had. It's cringe inducing, anxiety stirring, and at times, very uncomfortable to watch. Although, once the madness kicks in, you won't be able peel your eyes away from it for a single second.

Now, critics of the film have made claims that it isn't factual. That your favorite lodge and ski lift has certain security measures in place to ensure that you never get stuck. And there is just no way that something like this would ever happen in real life. I loathe it when people disregard films because of a claim of it not being true to real life. Its a movie for chrissakes. Take it for what it is at face value and you'll find yourself ready to pee yourself silly while having a good time like I did.

OK, minor rant over with. The film is simple in set-up: a trio of friends, 2 life long guy pals and the girlfriend of one of them go on a weekend ski trip to get away from the trappings of everyday life. The girlfriend uses her wiles to convince the ski lift operator to let them on for a fraction of the cost they'd normally be charged. They banter about for the first 20 minutes or so of the film as they ski and share a lift ride, letting us into their lives for a moment to flesh out the characters before the terror ensues.

After a day of skiing and a pit stop, they beg for one last run before the slopes are shut down for the night. The operator reluctantly agrees and let's them get back on the lift. As the kids head up, the operator gets called into his bosses office and another employee takes over. But he tells him (before shutting down the lift for the night) that one last set of kids is headed down the slope and to not shut off the lift until they get down. The only problem? There was another set of kids before our trio and as soon as they skid to a halt, the employee shuts off the lift and heads home.

At the beginning, our trio laughs about it as the first time up the slope the lift also stopped. They joke about terrible ways of dying and what type of pizza they're going to eat when they get back down. But in an instant, with the shutting off of the ski lift lights, the kids go from semi-nervous laughter to straight out pants shitting terrified.

I think I'm going to stop right here as there are two gut wrenching scenes which happen hereafter where members of our trio attempt to escape. To reveal them, would spoil the surprise of the film and the jarring effect each one has. What I will say is that the character development is phenomenal as you genuinely care and empathize with these kids. They aren't of the thinly painted type in most horror fare (i.e. the slutty one, the asshole, etc.). These are 'real' kids going through a 'real' hellish situation. And the practical effects. Oh man, the practical effects are stomach churning. They had me curled in the fetal position on the couch on more than one occasion.

Do yourself a favor and check out Frozen, ASAP. I don't know if it will do what the advertising purports: 'It'll do for skiing what Jaws did for swimming.' But I certainly don't plan on getting on a ski lift anytime soon.

Cortez the Killer

Monday, October 4, 2010

Santa Slays

I haven't followed an animated series in quite some time. The last series I followed was waaaaaaay back in the late 90's when Spawn was kicking ass on HBO. I was recently notified of a new animated web series and decided to check out the teaser for it. I mean the premise alone seemed goofy enough to be right up my alley. And from the looks of the teaser, it certainly is. Join me and enter the world of Infinite Santa 8000!

Brought to you by the duo behind the film Drive-In Horrorshow (a film I've been meaning to check out and have heard great things about), Infinite Santa 8000 sees jolly St. Nick, well, not so jolly anymore. You see, he's trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, where monsters and mutants roam the land. He hasn't even seen a human in 300 years. So it comes as a shock when he discovers a young girl one day. Unbeknownst to them however, is the fact that they are both being watched by the evil Dr. Shackleton who's trying to steal what it is that powers Santa and keeps him eternal.

You can check out the teaser for the first episode via the web link here:

The series premieres on 10/10. And I'll be posting updates when new episodes become available online.

Cortez the Killer

Friday, October 1, 2010

Save The Boobies!

We're huge fans of the dopetastic, thread creatin', t-shirt slinging fiends over at Fright Rags. As of right now, YES RIGHT NOW, you can purchase one of their latest and greatest t-shirts which is being sold in support of a good cause. Just check out the neat-o design. Combining the Bride of Frankenstein along with one of the most iconic magazine covers of the past 20 years? Fantastico!

A friend of the folks who run the joint is fighting against an aggressive case of breast cancer. On top of that, her husband lost his job and they are struggling to take care of their bills and two youngins. ALL proceeds from the sale of the shirt goes directly to the family.

This hits close to home for me as I've watched two family members fight through this terrible disease. And chances are, you know of someone who has been through it themselves or worse yet, fallen victim.

The horror blogging community is rallying around this cause. And you should too. I try not to ask too much out of our readers, but if you can spare the extra lunch money, please do so. And that t-shirt design is pretty killer, no?

The t-shirt can be purchased through this here linky:

Cortez the Killer